In Recent Paintings, New York City-based artists Hilda O’Connell and John Beardman present powerful abstract paintings reflecting a commitment to paint, color, and form. This is Hilda O’Connell’s second exhibition and John Beardman’s first exhibition at the Carter Burden Gallery. The two-person exhibition explores the dialogue between free expression and masterful technique.
Language begins as the primary subject of O’Connell’s paintings. A range of influences inspire the artist; from James Joyce’s Ulysses to the aesthetics of medieval illuminated manuscripts. O'Connell also explores the unintelligible speech of glossolalia or speaking in tongues. For the artist this is understood as "beyond reason". O’Connell often initiates her painting process with a large stencil letter. She then works instinctively adding random marks and clusters of fragmented letters, and using disruptive techniques such as collage and palimpsest. The artist states that the resulting paintings “represent freedom of choice in an indeterminate world, and opens possibilities otherwise smothered by calculation.”
Beardman's work is a personal expression of remembered visual phenomena. His forms are loosely referential to everyday objects such as flowers and trees. The artist is guided by his impulses to understand the world in front of him by using his canvas and paint. These urges become physical actions of adding, pouring, and scraping away. For the artist, painting is a way to catch or sieve time. Beardman states "Painting is for me a means of experiencing myself and giving form to that experience. Time and thought stop for me. My job is to make them stop for you."
Born in 1934 in New York, Hilda O’Connell received her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MFA from Yale University. In 1957 as a student at Pratt, she was introduced to Jack Tworkov, with whom she studied with following her graduation. She continued her education by studying art history at New York University. In the late 1950s, O’Connell moved to a loft on East 10th Street, where Willem de Kooning, Milton Resnick, and Esteban Vincente also worked. O’Connell taught art history and studio art at Regis High School for 40 years. Selected solo exhibitions have been at AIR Gallery in New York (2005); TAI Gallery in New York (2000); TSS Gallery in New York (1999 and 1995); Grace Gallery in New York (1981); Hudson River Museum in Hudson (1978); and Aegis Gallery in New York (1966, 1965, 1963, 1962, and 1958). Selected group exhibitions include Retrogarde (2013 and 2011) at the Manhattan Boro President Office in New York; Westbeth Gallery in New York (2009); Drawing Center in New York (2002 and 1982); and Center Gallery in New York (1956).
Born in 1937, Youngstown, Ohio, John Beardman, received his AB from Oberlin College, his MA and MFA from Southern Illinois University. He also received a certificate from the Sorbonne. Beardman studied at Stanley Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. He taught at the University of Connecticut and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Selected solo exhibitions have been at The Allan Stone Gallery; O.K. Harris; Jayne H. Baum; 55 Mercer; and Denise Bibro Fine Art in New York. Selected group exhibitions include New York, New York, New York (1999) in Frankfurt, Germany; The Allan Stone Gallery; Museum of Arts and History in Port Huron; Detroit institute of Art; and Butler Institute of Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Public and private collections include the American Broadcasting Corporations, NY, the estate of Harry Bober, NY, Cranbrook Academy of Art, MI, Detroit Institute of Art, MI, the estate of Meyer Schapiro, NY, and the estate of Allan Stone, NY.